Local Tech Wire

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Hopes that Canada’s government might intervene to block Ericsson’s $1.1 billion acquisition of Nortel’s key wireless assets took a hit this week when Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he would not “increase protectionism.”

Some critics of the Ericsson deal with bankrupt have said it is in Canada’s interest to preserve ownership of the wireless technology. The government is reviewing the deal under the Investment Canada Act that could be used as reason to scuttle the deal if it is determined the transaction poses a threat to Canadian national security.

"That process will be respected," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday when asked about the Nortel deal, "But we will certainly not be bringing forward any kind of legislation to increase protectionism in terms of foreign investment in Canada."

Hunter had not commented publicly before about the deal.

"This transaction will be examined under the Investment Canada Act" to ensure that it is "in Canada’s national interest," he said, according to the Star.

On Monday, Canada-based Nortel shuffled its senior management, with its board chairman and four other board members resigning along with Chief Executive Officer Mike Zafirovski. He also was a board member.

Nortel employs some 1,800 people in the Triangle. The company is proceeding with plans to liquidate its assets.